The Vamps: 'We took career advice from Taylor Swift’s mum'

They're one of the most successful British bands of the last decade and that could be - at least in part - down to Taylor Swift's mum.

The lads toured with the "Shake It Off" singer back in 2014, on the London leg of her Red Tour, and it turns out they took some early career advice from Mrs Swift.

Bass player Tristan Evans explains: "I remember speaking to Taylor's mum about how involved they were, and I asked her about the stage and she was like, 'No you can't rely on these people you have to do it yourself'.

"That was really cool for us because we were young at this stage. It makes you realise how hands on she is and how hands on you should be because you're the one who's got to go out there and perform."

And they have clearly been influenced by the American hit maker too.

Lead singer Brad Simpson says: "You very rarely get to spend six nights just watching an absolute professional like Taylor smash it so you just sit there taking notes.

"I think she did have a massive influence on us in terms of how she deals with her career as well. She's a boss. She's across everything, but not in an arrogant way.

"She treats the people around her so well… We've tried to take a leaf out of her book."

He adds: "Yeah, you write the songs and put yourself out there, so you've got to be able to stand behind it. We've been lucky that everything that we've done, we felt really passionate about and loved. I think as we've got older we've just tried to keep building on that like Taylor has, because it gives you longevity as an artist."

They've been together seven years now, and are all in their early 20s - so is this a new stage in their career?

Guitarist James McVey calls the tracks on their forthcoming EP - Missing You - "the most honest songs we've ever done".

The four songs on it have been entirely written and produced by the band.

After five years of intensive touring the boys took a few months off to "readjust and get some perspective" before getting their heads down to make new music.

Simpson explains they "needed that time to go and live life and have the experiences to write about", going on to describe the writing process as "cathartic" and a "form of therapy".

Despite their success, it's fair to say that the band's guitarist James McVey boosted his popularity after appearing on last year's I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.

He calls the experience "genuinely life-changing".

Evans describes watching him on the show: "It was funny because we knew exactly what he was feeling because we know his body language and when he's angry.

"It was funny to see your brother on TV when you're usually there together."

Despite McVey's success (he got over half-way through the show) the others aren't keen to follow in his footsteps.

Simpson, a keen cook, admits he'd give Bake Off a go.

But the band is keen to use its fame for good.

McVey explains: "We all like using the position we have in The Vamps to speak about things we're passionate about and if there's any positive change that can be made from us vocalising how we feel then I think that's a good step."

He has previously spoken openly about his negative relationship with food, becoming obsessed with his weight soon after the band formed and restricting his food intake in the quest for an "unachievable goal".

He admits: "We've still got quite a long way to go with men and food. It's great that male mental health in general is starting to get spoken about, but there's still much more to be done."

And all the boys admit the spotlight of fame puts pressure on them all.

Simpson says: "I think there's a lot of eyes on potentially the wrong things in life from the mainstream media.

"We're just musicians - we love writing and playing music - sometimes all the noise around it gets a bit frustrating."

Drummer Connor Ball, who has spoken about dealing with anxiety in the past, says he's received messages of support from many fans.

But it's a two-way street, Ball explains: "We have a platform to speak about it, when potentially people who are feeling much worse than any of us can't say anything and don't get the support they need. If we can help them, that's amazing."

The band all met online (via Facebook and YouTube), and such platforms continue to play a large part in their career success.

They've been streamed over two-billion times globally on Spotify, with 8.4 million monthly listeners, and are one of the most watched artists on YouTube.

Plus they boast 4.2 million followers on Twitter, and 2.3 million followers on Instagram.

But they still recognise the dark side of society's addiction to the internet, admitting they too are "always on it".

Evans elaborates: "Pressure is a big thing. We all know younger people in this world, and who look up to people on social media… and they're comparing themselves to something that's not realistic."

Simpson adds: "I think it does have a massive effect on your mental state… The heightened state of potentially feeling judged for something they put up, on such a wide scale."

He says they were lucky to grow up just ahead of the social media revolution, reaching their late teens before social media took over many of our interactions.

He goes on: "Our teenage years were spent socialising in a very face to face format. But I think growing up now must be so hard because everything's just flipped upside down and all your interactions become online and less personable."

It's a reality many of their fans will be able to relate to.

So, as they prepare to embark on a three-month tour - which will inevitably be physically intense and emotionally demanding - are they looking forward to it?

"It's an amazing thing that we get to do, so getting to do that with three of your mates is a pleasure," says Simpson.

But are they really mates? Absolutely, "friends first" they explain.

Evans concludes: "We've been going for seven years so it's not going to change. I feel like it makes you closer or more distant. For us it's 100% closer."

The Vamps Four Corners tour kicks off later this month.

Sky News

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